An angler's journal

An angler's journal

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Wonderful Wye

Recent weather finally brought some rainfall and with it the hope that the rivers would finally give us something to get excited about. While this week's weather has seen a cold blast hit UK shores, the last few weeks have been very mild with most rivers returning temperatures of about 10°C. However this had been largely coupled with low clear water so any rainfall would be gladly welcomed.
One of my chosen swims

With the temperatures so high for November it seemed silly not to have a go for barbel. The weather is fickle at this time of year and it could be weeks, even months before another opportunity this good arose. My local Warwickshire Avon saw no change to its levels, well maybe a few inches but nothing to set the pulses racing. The Severn had risen a little but again it didn't really fill me with confidence. The Wye however looked to have about 4ft on and was starting to drop. It was what I was looking for and my mind was made up pretty quickly.

I arrived just after lunch to find the stretch empty. Just the way I like it. I had not fished this stretch before in such conditions so a bit of roving was the order of the day and with no one else there it meant I was free to do what I liked. I walked upstream, eyeing a few likely looking spots behind trees. It was this type of swim that I dropped into first.  With the main current a torrent I hoped the fish would be sheltering behind these obstructions. I had only brought one rod and that was tackled with a straight lead to a size 2 hook baited with meat. I aimed to give each swim up to 30-40 minutes. In these conditions a fish ought to show relatively quickly if they are indeed present.

Within minutes of settling down the heavens opened. The forecast has not mentioned rain so without an umbrella I simply had to sit it out. Soon after it turned to a sharp hail storm. It was not a great start but the sun returned and gave me just enough heat to attempt to dry off a little.

A promising start in the new swim
The first two swims produced nothing other than one sharp jag on the rod tip. I dropped further downstream to an area that looked a whole lot more promising. A smooth looking glide screamed barbel so my bait was cast just my side of the crease. I didn't have to wait too long before a tap turned into a wrap around and the first barbel of the day was hooked. It put up a decent scrap and a fish of just over 8lb was my reward.

I did contemplate moving on again but this area looked as promising as anywhere else so I decided I would sit it out on the premise that if it was good enough for one barbel then they'd probably be another in the area at some
The best fish of the session
point. The next hour or more was pretty quiet fishing wise but the Wye Valley is as good as anywhere to spend an autumn afternoon. With stunning scenery, buzzards soaring overhead and the chance that any moment could signal the arrival of a barbel the afternoon flew by. The sun started to set and with it daytime began to lose its grasp. This time of the day is always synonymous with a barbel bite and today was to be no different. A positive bite saw me connected with another barbel that put up a much more stubborn resistance than the first fish. Another fine looking barbel was landed with this one going 9lb 9oz. It was a fitting way to end an enjoyable afternoon on the river Wye.

If you find yourself here then please look around the rest of the site. Comments are always welcomed.


  1. Hi Lee. Lately I've been looking for a few angling blogs to dip into on a regular basis, and yours is one I keep coming back to. These days I don't do a lot of fishing, but it's been in my blood since boyhood...

    I was bit shocked to read one of your posts from a couple of years back inferring that there weren't many barbel in the Teme currently. I fished at Broadwas back in about 1990/91 and had up 15+ in a day. What's happened??

    Anyway, keep up the good work...

  2. Thanks for the comment. It's always reassuring to know someone is reading and appreciating the effort.

    As for the Teme. There are several theories: otters, the 2007 flood, water abstraction amongst others. Maybe it's a combination of them all. The truth is the days of 15 barbel are history unfortunately. There's still some fish there but a couple would probably be a great day now. Hopefully things will even themselves back out in time. Thanks again.